State Assembly Candidates on Santa Monica Airport

The Santa Monica Daily Press has published the responses to a standard questionnaire by the various candidates for the California State Assembly up for election on June 5, 2012.  The SMDP articles (see links below) list the responses to a number of questions, we have extracted just the response to the question concerning Santa Monica Airport:

Santa Monica Airport: Where do you stand? Will you work to close the airport completely, limit operations (flights and flight schools) or maintain the status quo?

The status quo at our airport is not acceptable. As a member of the City Council, I have spent 13 years working for reform on the complex issue at the airport. Under my leadership, the city has increased fines and penalties for noise violators and fought with the FAA for runway safety areas. The city lost that battle because the FAA retains enormous power. We must proceed with caution and intelligence to limit the impact of airport operations on the community. If we cannot achieve reasonable results for our residents than we will have to try closure — in spite of the very significant risks.

While the federal government oversees the airport, I do believe there is too much flight traffic and we must, at the very least, limit the operations of the flights and flight schools and the size and number of planes landing each day. I will do whatever I can in my capacity as a state Assembly member to limit operations and work with the federal government and community to explore an airport closure.

I favor a plan that would immediately expand the safety barrier and work to eliminate jet traffic at the airport. I favor the eventual phasing out of the airport completely and the development of a plan in Santa Monica to use the space for the benefit of the community, such as parks and recreation, art space and community programming. That large parcel of land could be a community jewel.

Santa Monica Airport has a role in the community, although limitations on operations to address negative noise, air quality, and public safety impacts are certainly reasonable. Ultimately, though, the fate of the airport is in the hands of Santa Monica and the FAA, not the state Assembly. The best role I could play as an Assembly member is to help mediate and find a negotiated solution acceptable to all stakeholders.